This Day in Minnesota History

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Today's Date: December 7

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Richard W. Sears is born in Stewartville, Minnesota. While a railroad freight agent in Redwood Falls, he would buy an unclaimed shipment of watches and sell them through the mail at bargain prices. From this mail-order idea would develop the A. C. Roebuck and Company, housed on the seventh floor of the Globe Building in Minneapolis. Renamed Sears, Roebuck and Co., the business would eventually be headquartered in Chicago.


The Eighth Minnesota Regiment helps defend Murfreesboro, Tennessee, from a Confederate attack, suffering ninety casualties. Murfreesboro had been the scene of the Third Minnesota's humiliating surrender two and one-half years earlier.


Outside of Pearl Harbor, the destroyer Ward, its crew primarily reservists from St. Paul, attacks and sinks a Japanese midget submarine, the first shots fired on the date of infamy. Inside the harbor, Minneapolis-born Captain Franklin van Valkenburgh is killed on the bridge of his ship, the USS Arizona. He would be awarded the Medal of Honor by Congress.


T. Eugene Thompson, a lawyer who helped to draft Minnesota's 1963 revised criminal code, begins serving a life sentence in the Minnesota State Prison for hiring a man to kill his wife, Carol.